When you ask God for a supernatural experience, and then fully anticipate one, expect flying colors.
Unearthly, otherworldly, miraculous, SUPERnatural colors.
The key is, you must fully anticipate them.
And I did.
At the risk of appearing overly enthusiastic over my recent Author Academy Award win for best memoir of 2019, I have to say, I am not finished testifying yet. How can I be, when I've only scratched the surface in relating God's artistic skills? How can I hoard colorful, multi-hued glory in what turned out to be a supernatural experience from start to finish?
Because that is precisely what I asked for. A supernatural experience from start to finish.
Let me explain.
Writing MILK AND HONEY LAND was NOT easy. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, and people, let me tell you, I know hard. I milked goats (and did all sorts of laborious chores as related to such). For a decade. While raising eight kids. For heaven's sake.
But God told me to do it.
I'll never forget the moment. I'd been racing a setting sun while mucking out stalls in my barn, marveling at all the ways God had shown himself to me on my farm in living color.
And all the ways he'd proven the validity of the Bible--a book I'd once ridiculed publicly.
Things had begun to come together since I'd asked him to reveal himself to me and I'd marveled at the way my mind had cleared to color. I told him so.
"Write a book about it," he'd said.
I'd never considered writing a book before. I'd spent years writing news copy--I had a master's degree in journalism.
But that didn't mean I liked to write.
It didn't mean I was any good at it.
But friends had convinced me to blog about my triumphs and sufferings on the farm and well, I thought, why not? Except that with a three-ring circus for a life, there was little time left to brush my teeth and I never got anywhere on time. How ever would I find an opportunity to write a book? I had already taken my blog offline because I hadn't found the time to devote to it. There was no earthly way I could do it.
So I told God I'd do it. After all, I usually operate a fair distance from logicality.
"But you will have to help me," I said.
Let me tell you, making that happen required serious commitment and ridiculous patience. I'll spare you the anguish I suffered throughout the three-year-journey. Suffice it to say, it was painful and tedious and mind-blowing. When I finally found opportunities, dozens of distractions and demands for my attention surfaced out of nowhere to pull me away from what I found I most wanted to do. By the time MILK AND HONEY LAND finally launched, I felt as though I had waged war and broken through enemy lines. And still, there was trouble. I cried nearly every single day that first month. Getting my story to print didn't lessen the warfare.
However, in moments of quiet, when it finally happened, time was sweet with my God. It became more about listening to what he was showing me to write, and less about my own productivity. We walked sacred ground together.
Last week as travel time to Columbus for the Igniting Souls Conference and Author Academy Awards neared, I felt expectant. No, I felt more than that. I felt more joy than I have ever known! It was like I was a kid again on Christmas Eve, so full of anticipation, feeling loved and protected and surrounded in good. I felt heaven's angels, an army of them surround me, even as God seemed to giggle in my ears.
On the day of departure, my flight was due to leave at six a.m. so I was up at two, Bible in hand. I prayed, "No matter what happens, whether I win or lose, please Lord, just give me a supernatural experience from start to finish. From start to finish!"
And then I believed.
He didn't disappoint.
We had come so far, my God and me.
From the start, supernatural began. First, I met a beautiful young woman on my first flight who was reading my book. Can you imagine? Sitting down next to a stranger who has your story in hand? I nearly had an out of body moment but had enough presence of mind to ask for a photo, which I promptly posted on social media. I'm sure Kelly and I will be friends forever now, as is true for the other authors I met on our second flight out of Nashville to Columbus.
Next, a number of crazy, wonderful things happened, beginning at Barnes and Noble in Columbus, Ohio prior to the awards ceremony and conference. In short, MILK AND HONEY LAND, with the help of my publisher, Kary Oberbrunner, received all sorts of attention in front of a live audience of tens of thousands. My new friend Kelly became a bit of a star along the way, and my book did too.
Did I mention I'd asked God to handle the marketing as well, since my schedule still does not permit it?
I couldn't possibly document everything that happened over the next few days. I met authors from around the world and became fast friends with many of them. Kelly and the photo of her holding my book made the big screen at the awards ceremony, which was live streamed. When it was announced MILK AND HONEY LAND had won best memoir of 2019, I was surrounded in extraordinary love as my author friends resoundingly cheered for my success and I felt as though I celebrated with family.
But mostly I felt the power of God's love and promises.
On the way home to Kansas City, armed with thirty long-stemmed red roses in a large glass vase, to which a box of chocolate remained attached, and saddled with as many books by author friends as my daughter Grace and I could manage, I was a bit of a spectacle. We managed to clear security and the first flight fine, but on the second flight home I was told I would not be able to keep the flowers that had been positioned on the floor next to the window. The long and short of it was that God used the congratulatory roses my husband sent me supernaturally too. A flight attendant offered to put them in her personal locker at the back of the plane for safe keeping and at the last minute, a woman rushed onto the plane needing a seat. I told her my roses had saved her a place. She told me she felt God had been looking out for her.
It turned out she is married to an author, of all things.
And when the plane landed in Kansas City, I was called to the front of the plane, where the crew presented me with a bottle of champagne to celebrate my victory.
My son Connor and his girlfriend Shelby (I hadn't yet met) were waiting for us, in town from Des Moines. My husband joined us for dinner at the Legends in Kansas City and I must say, I couldn't have asked for a better ending to a wildly colorful trip.
From start to finish. I'm so glad I added that part.
I'm so glad God answered so colorfully.
You can dream big, but you can never out dream God. And when you ask him for help, count on the power of the universe.